Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Merry Christmas

For me Christmas is about friends and family. I don't do much in the way of cards and presents, but I do make an effort to see or to speak to people that are close to me over the festive period.

Today, assuming the weather is with me I will be catching the train from Reading up to see my parents who live in Congleton, Cheshire. My brother and grandma will also be joining us. If it is anything like other Christmases spent at home it will be a battle against eating too much food, combined with board games, reading and catching up with old friends.

Christmas should also be about peace and justice though. Unfortunately the corporate takeover of this spiritual festival continues relentlessly reducing it to shopping and non-stop television. So this Christmas as always my thoughts will be with the victims of injustice at home and across the world: the one in three children living in poverty in the UK and the 1.1 billion people across the world living on less than one dollar a day; the people killed and displaced by war in Afghanistan and elsewhere: and the people affected by climate change.

I would like to wish everyone in Reading and across the globe a safe and happy Christmas.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Have you fallen on the ice -- NEW POLL

Recently, I've seen many people slip on the ice and heard of people falling over and injuring themselves. We are calling on the council to take a step towards gritting all pavements by at the very least gritting steep slopes.

I have also launched the poll, "Have you fallen on the ice?".

Friday, 18 December 2009

Playing fields -- fisking Richard McKenzie

Richard McKenzie appears to be blogging about me in all but name calling me a liar etc. As his blog isn't interactive I can't post a comment on there so I thought I would do a quick fisk here.

Firstly I have never said that the Alfred Sutton portion of the playing field is under threat, it is the 5.6 ha of Thames Valley University playing fields next to it. It would be good to see what fact he is basing this allegation on?

He says that there is no plan. I would be interested to hear what type of document he thinks the Site Allocations Document is? The playing fields site is SA86 which is on page 155 of part three of appendix three: http://tiny.cc/SRPti

Richard mentions that the site won protection in 1999. Having spoken to Council officers already on this I think he is referring to the Alfred Sutton planning brief, which I have been informed is of questionable value due to the new Local Development Framework. The officers seemed to think it wouldn't hold up under an appeal from a developer.

That is enough now. I look forward to his response.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Thames Valley University playing fields -- Labour newsletter

Labour have just put out a rebuttal to our newsletter which informed people that the Thames Valley University playing fields are being lined up for development in a council planning document -- Site and Detailed Policies Document was called the Site Allocations Document.

On the front of the Labour 'newsletter' there are lots of warm words about not wanting any building on these playing fields. However the letter from Lead Member for Strategic Planning, Tony Page which is reproduced on the back isn't so straightforward. Cutting through the waffle at the start and heading straight to the juicy bits at the end there seem to be a few weaselly 'ifs' appearing. And the last sentence is the icing on the cake "it would not be appropriate nor possible to remove this site from the Site and Detailed Policies Document".

After having talked to officers again they have confirmed to me that actually it is possible to have this site removed from the Site and Detailed Policies Document and so we will continue to work to make this happen.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Effectiveness of blogging/where do you live -- NEW POLL

Recently I was having a conversation with a Green Party colleague about the effectiveness of blogging for politicians. He was saying more posts equals higher readership. I was saying true, but more posts equals more time taken and the audience is global -- but being a politician I am most interested in communicating with people who live within the areas I am seeking to represent, Reading East and Park Ward. So I have put a poll on my blog to find out where my readers live. Please take two seconds to vote and help me determine how effective my blog is.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Political organising training

While trawling the Internet for useful resources on organising (political) I came across this interesting resource from Harvard University. The author Marshall Ganz trained the organisers for the Obama campaign.

Friday, 11 December 2009

What people think of Reading -- survey results

The Council just notified me that the results of the Reading place survey are out. A quick flick through and that these paragraphs caught my attention:

"The level of crime (63%), clean streets (41%), public transport (39%), health services (38%), and parks and open spaces (37%) are the five aspects most frequently cited as important in making somewhere a good place to live. The five aspects considered to be most in need of improvement are; level of traffic (55%); level of crime (49%); activities for teenagers (39%); roads and pavements (38%); and clean streets (33%). Combining the two aspects shows that the high priority areas are the level of crime, level of traffic and clean streets."

"Satisfaction with the Council and the services it provides has generally fallen, with overall satisfaction down 11%, appearing to reflect the wider trend across the country1. Conversely respondents appear to have increased satisfaction with their quality of life in their local area, up 5%."

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Battery recycling at Alfred Sutton school

In recent months, I have been working with GLOBE -- Go Local On a Better Environment -- groups in Reading on battery recycling. Recently, Alfred Sutton -- where I am a governor and do my crossing patrol duty -- agreed to have a battery recycling point in the reception area. A week after it had been put in place I was disappointed to see only a few batteries in the bottom of the container. However when I enquired about this I was told it had already been emptied a number of times! Yesterday I did a brief talk at assembly on battery recycling which went down well, and a quick show of hands informed me that a good percentage of the children had already brought some batteries in.

Well done GLOBE and everyone at the school who helped make this happen especially the school council.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Jolly Anglers pub update -- covenant and licence

For those of you who are not part of the Facebook group to reopen the Jolly Anglers pub here is a copy of the latest update:

Hello all,

Just a quick note to update you on the campaign's progress in recent months. Following on from pressure from us, and negotiations, the new owners have informed us that Enterprise Inns have removed the covenant from the deeds of the property. This means that the building can now be reopened as a pub without fear of legal action for breaching the covenant.

The most recent development -- as anyone who has walked passed the pub will have seen -- is that the new owners have applied for a new premises licence. The campaign will be writing a letter in support of this application. If this is granted the only thing stopping the pub from reopening is having a person or brewery to run it. And as we have seen in the papers recently there is definitely interest out there in taking this on. So with a bit of luck and a fair wind the Jolly Anglers may be open by February.

Well done to everyone for all of your hard work so far. We will keep you posted of future developments and of when action is needed.

Best wishes
Rob White

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Newtown photo exhibition

Thanks to Debbie for this:

"In case you didn't know already, there's a lovely photographic exhibition on at the main library, 2nd floor, at the moment. Most of the photo's are black and white and were commissioned in 1973, specifically to photograph the older part of Newtown before it was pulled down. It's interesting to see that many of the new roads kept the same names as the originals, although of course look completely different now. There are also a few newspaper clips from the time (very sad), some old maps of the area (from when it was all fields!) and a few more up to date photos."

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Join GREN for the WAVE -- climate change

I got this from GREN:

"THE WAVE is the march organised by Stop Climate Chaos in London on 5 December, just before the UN Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen.

Join GREN for the Climate Emergency Rally, midday at Speaker’s Corner, and with campaigners from over 100 other organisations across the UK to march to encircle Parliament for the mass ‘Mexican Wave’!

GREN is encouraging people from Reading to go to the march and rally:

-- By train – meet at the front entrance to Reading a station 10.15 a.m. to catch the 10.33 a.m. train to Paddington from where we will go to Speakers Corner, Hyde Park for the midday rally. From there we will join THE WAVE march which leaves Grosvenor Square at 1 p.m. Please bring banners and other things to brighten up the event! See www.gren.org.uk

-- CAFOD have a few places on their coach which is leaving Reading Station at 8am and Woodley at 8:45am. They will then go to an Ecumenical Service at Westminster Methodist Central Hall at 11am before attending THE WAVE. To book a seat contact Rob White -- bobby.blanc@gmail.com -- and I will put you in touch

For more details, including the route for THE WAVE see www.stopclimatechaos.org

Dress code: Blue! Please bring blue gloves if you have them, or paint your hands blue for the 3pm climax!"

Reading Pride AGM

I went along to the Reading Pride AGM last night. Having been along to the parade and festival since I found out about it, I thought I would go along to the AGM to find out more about the group and their plans for this year coming.

It was a well attended AGM at the Civic Centre with I would guess 20 or 30 people there. Other political types that I saw in attendance were Tory councillors Tim Harris and Andrew Cumpsty. I was pleased to hear that the festival was growing and doing well.

There was a speaker from the Gay Football Supporters Network who was very interesting and spoke very positively about Reading Football Club's positive attitude in wanting to tackle homophobic language on the terraces. Although there is still a long way to go!

It was finished in an hour -- which I think is a good length for an AGM -- and after chatting to a few people I cycled off home. Unfortunately my tyre was almost flat so as well as feeling every single bump, I think I may have a puncture.

Monday, 30 November 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- November

As you can see below, November has been a busy month.

Council meetings -- 0
Community meetings and events -- 11
Enquiries and requests for repairs from residents -- 32


-- I wrote a letter to the paper continuing the Green Party campaign to bring our troops home and stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.

-- I got involved with The Big Care Debate on the future of care in the UK.

-- I supported a local commuter to try and improve cycle parking at Paddington Station.

-- I continued the Green Party campaign against tuition fees by writing a letter and taking part in a debate at Reading University.

-- We campaigned against cuts to PCSOs at Reading University and in the surrounding area.

-- I joined the campaign to end inequality resulting in low pay for women.


-- Following on from Green campaigning the Council is making moves to get the old Rupert Square Information Shop back into use.

-- It has taken over a year of pressure but we finally got the landlord who owns a fly tipping hotspot on Norton Road in Newtown to clear and secure the space.

-- Worked with various agencies to clear the Kennet Mouth seating area.

-- Got an extra litter bin for duck feeding litter on the Kennet Side.

-- Worked with the Council to get problem cars for sale removed from the unofficial garage forecourt on the Wokingham Road.

Reading environmental/ethical Christmas fair

This fair is happening at Reading Town Hall on Saturday, December 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"Reading is going to have its first massive Christmas environmental fair. There'll be plenty of original ethical Christmas shopping, fun kids activities, two cinemas, as well as scrummy Christmas cookery demos and tastings, plus a big focus on inspiration for health, fair trade and environmental lifestyle ideas. All this all day for only £3, £1 concessions. With delicious healthy meals and cakes to eat in or take away to make the lead up to Christmas easy!"

Friday, 27 November 2009

The People's Charter

It is always good when a movement style initiative gets going and their objectives are in line with most Green Party policy. This is true of The People's Charter which I have just signed up to. Their objectives are:

a fair economy for a fairer Britain
more and better jobs
decent homes for all
save and improve our services
for fairness and justice
a better future stars now.

More detail on their website.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The new Cross Town Route

The Cross Town Route continues to rumble forwards. It is no longer a motorway from the Thames Valley business Park to the Vastern Road roundabout, going via Kennet Mouth. It is now a park and ride scheme following the same route. The same arguments still stand about it being a blight on the area, inducing traffic etc but now it is not just the road, but a large car park as well, somewhere on the green space by the Thames.

Both the Labour Party and the Tories are in favour of the scheme -- although the Tories want a road for cars rather than buses. The Liberal Democrats have not decided if they for or against the scheme yet. Only the Greens and residents are against this development.

This story in Get Reading mentions it towards the end, although it does not call it the new Cross Town Route, it calls it a park and ride on the Reading/Wokingham boundary.

I have created this Facebook group so people can say No to the New Cross Town Route.

Tree planting in Palmer Park

As part of the Tree O'clock project which aims to set a world record for the number of trees planted in a day, there is an event in Palmer Park to plant 2000 trees as well as other events around Reading.

The Palmer Park event is sponsored by Stella -- the beer company -- which I assume means they are stumping up a reasonable amount of cash for the benefit of the community, which is great. However the flipside of this is that the event is being promoted as over 18 only -- rightly so I would say. There are other events in the Reading but some people are not going to want to travel which will impact on the turnout.

I have not managed to get hold of the organisation yet but hopefully some of these trees will be hedging to replace the section we lost earlier in the year!

I am not sure whether I am in Reading on that day but if I am I will be heading down there to help.

UPDATE: The Council say that there will be at least three different planting areas in Palmer Park and children will be welcome to help plant trees by the playing area near the corner of St Bartholomew's Road and Wokingham Road.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Tuition fees debate

Just got around to blogging about the tuition fees debate at Reading University. I was on the panel with the other East Reading Parliamentary candidates. We each had five minutes to talk on this subject. I put forward the Green Party argument for good quality, well funded public services, and argued that tuition fees should be scrapped as they are a barrier to higher education.

To summarise the rest of the debate Gareth Epps from the Liberal Democrats also argued against fees but acknowledged he was campaigning against his leader. Annelise Dodds from Labour agreed that the fees should not be increased -- unfortunately this is not the Labour position which is to wait for the conclusion of a review conveniently timed after the general election. Rob Wilson from the Tories managed to fill his five minutes without saying much other than he too would also be waiting for the conclusion of the review.

Everyone apart from Rob Wilson agreed to sign the pledge against any increase in fees and in favour of a fairer alternative.

There was one surreal point towards the end of the debate when Rob Wilson went off on a tangent complaining about constituents asking him to sign Early Day Motions and generally contacting him. I got a good laugh when I pointed out to Rob Wilson that that is democracy. One of the NUS campaigners informed me later in the evening that I scored double marks for this comment because apparently "that's democracy" is one of their often used catchphrases around the office at work.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What have Park Ward councillors been up to recently?

What have the councillors in Park Ward been up to in recent months? Not much judging by the system -- Front Office -- they use to ask questions of officers and request repairs on behalf of residents. My Freedom of information request reveals the following activity for the three Park Ward councillors from this system between July and October inclusive.

Wazir Hussain (Conservative) -- 16
Shirley Merriot (Labour) -- 0
Jon Hartley (Labour) -- 0

Considering some councillors have submitted around 50 items of work over this period the results for Park Ward especially from Labour are rubbish! Have the Labour councillors both thrown in the towel already? I know Shirley is stepping down but not until the elections in May?

For some statporn see Glenn's blog.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

West Berks Brewery ends negotiations to reopen the Jolly Anglers

It is a real shame that the positive negotiations to get the Jolly Anglers reopened involving West Berks Brewery have come to a premature end. I hope that this will put a stop to the irresponsible press releases from the likes of Rob Wilson!

Despite this setback, the campaign goes on and I think we need a get together to regroup and assess the situation.

Reading Young Greens Society launched

We now have a Reading Young Greens Society at Reading University.

We are currently campaigning to make the campus safer and against tuition fees.

Monday, 9 November 2009

LVAG defeated over Sandford Farm site

Sorry to see that the Loddon Valley Action Group have lost their campaign to prevent development at the Sandford Farm site.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Parking in Newtown -- plans move forward

I thought people would be interested in the developments on the issue of parking in Newtown.

To summarise following on from pressure from residents of eastern Newtown who have real problems parking in the unrestricted roads the Council has been looking into introducing residents' parking across the whole of the Newtown area. The latest report going to the Traffic Management Advisory Panel considers the implications of making Liverpool Road residents' parking -- it would need to be made one-way.

If you want to read the whole report it is item 7 on the agenda for the Traffic Management Advisory Panel.

As the report says we will have to wait for the Reading wide residents' parking scheme review to finish before we get any further with this.

Anyone can attend the meeting if they want but be warned you may have to wait a long time before the relevant item is discussed and you only get speaking rights by contacting the chair in advance.

Jolly Anglers

I have just seen the second irresponsible press release on the reopening of the Jolly Anglers in as many days. Positive negotiations are going on but this sort of publicity jeopardises them. To all journalists out there, please put a lid on this story until the contracts have been signed!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

PCSO petition

We have handed in our petition against the cuts to Police Community Support Officers in the Redlands and University area. Tony Downes from the University would not accept it in person so I handed it in to his PA.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- October

Council meetings -- 1
Community meetings and events -- 15
Enquiries and requests for repairs from residents -- 22

It has been quite a busy few weeks involving Black History Month and Reading International Festival events. Still picking up casework from the door knocking. Went along to the full council meeting to support a colleague asking questions on cycling.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A musical weekend in Reading

I had a very musical weekend last week. On Friday I went to see the Junkyard Scientists as part of the Greenpeace benefit at RISC. As always they were great but I jumped around too much and now have a sore ankle!

On Saturday I went to see a.P.A.t.T at South Street. Musically they were not exactly my cup of tea but visually two out of the four acts that I saw were quite interesting. One incorporated large men wearing aprons and a strobe light helmet. The last band were all dressed in white and had some very lively dance routines.

Finally on Sunday I went to see RASPO (Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra) as part of Black History month at the Town Hall. I had seen three of them playing before and they were good, but numbering about 20 the whole orchestra was amazing especially the young girl who could play both the saxophone and a steel pan. There was some racy calypso dancing but with my injured ankle I decided to take it easy and spectate. The evening was ended by Michael Bubbles Oliviere who is making a comeback.

All in all a good weekend.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Palmer Park improvements

Some of the changes we have been pushing for are contained within the report that is going to the next Cabinet. See item 16 on the agenda. Changes detailed include:

• Extending the play area and installing new equipment
• Making play safe
• Rationalisation of the car parking to reduce its impact on the rest of the park until the Sports Facilities Strategy reviews the formal sports facilities to be provided within the park and any subsequent change in demand for parking
• Improvements to landscaping and new tree planting
• Relocating the recycling bins
• Moving and replacing fencing around the East Reading Adventure Play Area site

Friday, 23 October 2009

Campaign Against the Arms Trade in Reading

Last night I went to a meeting of the new branch of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade in Reading. A friendly bunch of people and I was glad to see that it was not just the usual suspects. There was talk of the appalling record of arms dealers and the UK government including bribes, profiting from other peoples' misery and destabilising regions. More positively there was also a focus on taking action locally.

If anyone is interested in getting involved get in touch and I will point you in the right direction.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Palmer Park consultation results 2009

The results from the Palmer Park consultation have been published by the Council.

This is mainly positive stuff on the Wokingham Road side of the park, however no mention of the play equipment on the London Road side. We campaigned on this a while ago and managed to reverse Labour cuts to this equipment. But still no investment in it. The council has agreed to take the horrible high fencing down though.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Governors -- time to stake my colours to the mast

We had a full governors meeting at the Alfred Sutton school recently. It was time to stake my colours to the mast so to speak and choose which committees I wanted to go on -- up until now I had been going along to most meetings to find out what interested me and where I could be useful. The choice was finance, curriculum, community and premises. I plumped for the curriculum and community committees. I also became the link governor -- there are various link governors for different areas, some being legal requirements -- for sustainability.

We have an extra meeting of the full governors tonight for a briefing following on from OFSTED visiting us last week. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Mr McKenzie has a blog -- sort of

My new Labour opponent Mr McKenzie in Park Ward has started a blog -- sort of. Unfortunately it does not appear possible to comment! Otherwise following on from his latest post attacking the Green Party I would comment that if someone had invited us along maybe someone would have attended the event.

Street Pastors seems like a positive project. I hope they do not mind him using them as a political football?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- September

Council meetings -- 1
Community meetings and events -- 9
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 20

Now that the summer holidays are well out of the way everything has started up again -- Council meetings, governor meetings etc. My favourite event this month was the Nepalese Dashain Festival at the Warehouse.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

PCSOs cut from the University area

As you may have seen in the local press we are losing four PCSOs from the Redlands and University area due to the University cutting their funding. To put some numbers on it -- as some reports I have seen have been unclear. Talking to Inspector Sinfield both the Redlands and University policing areas are classified as enhanced which means they each have one Neighbourhood Specialist Officer and one Police Community Support Officer. The extra four PCSOs who have had their funding cut by the University split their time between campus (50 percent) and the surrounding area (50 percent). For comparison, the Newtown policing area which is classed as priority has two Neighbourhood Specialist Officers and two Police Community Support Officers.

I have written to Tony Downes (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University) urging him to reconsider this decision and asking what effect he thinks this will have on the area. The more people who write to him the better. You can e-mail him directly at: t.a.downes@reading.ac.uk

Listening to music under a bridge

I saw the most amazing mini gig last night! The brass section of Tim Hill and Tongues of Fire -- two trumpets, two saxophones and a trombone -- played for about half an hour under the bridge by Kennet Mouth. I was informed that the acoustics under there were really good -- it sounded great to my untrained ear. It was also really atmospheric, under the bridge, with light bouncing off the water, geese and swans gliding by and people silhouetted against the sky. This was one of the best gigs I have ever been to!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lunch club tour -- Pakistani Community Centre

I am now nearing the end of my lunch club tour. On Tuesday, I attended the Pakistani Community Centre lunch club. It had taken me a while to get down there because first of all it was not on for the month of Ramadan and last week it was cancelled.

Tuesday is the men's club and there were about 10 of us there. I had some salad, chapatis and a saucy and spicy curry dish. This was followed by a sweet dish of chopped up noodles -- I am not sure that they were noodles but that is what they looked like. This was all washed down with a few glasses of water. The chef informed me that the food is different every week. It was very tasty and there is no charge.

The final stop on my tour will be the Age Concern lunch club at the URC.

Monday, 5 October 2009

CORRECTION Alfred Sutton/TVU playing fields still under threat

Apologies, but contrary to my previous post -- which I have now deleted to avoid confusion -- the Alfred Sutton/TVU playing fields are still under threat. It is still a site that is under consideration for inclusion in the Site Allocation Document -- which details sites proposed for development.

The Council will shortly be assessing all of the proposed sites and a list will be going to Full Council in January.

Monday, 28 September 2009

King's Meadow baths granted period of exclusivity

Hot off the phone, Bob from the King's Meadow Campaign has informed me that they have been granted a two-year period of exclusivity to draw up detailed plans and fund raise to restore the King's Meadow baths and get them back into use for the community. Considering not so long ago the Labour group was about to hand over the site to a developer who was going to concrete over a fair size portion of the area this is great news! Apparently the developer wanted a 200 year plus lease on the site which was the main reason for the Council to go with the King's Meadow Campaign.

I have supported the campaign since I discovered it, I have delivered newsletters, spoken at public meetings and supported them at council meetings, so I feel as though I have contributed to this success in a small way. But hats off to Bob O'Neill who has been the real driving force behind this campaign.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Using my energy smart meter

I had great fun playing with the energy meter that I borrowed from the library. Once I had got it set up -- took about five minutes -- the display told me that the house was using 0.2 kilowatts. No one else was in so this must have been from the display of radio alarms, phone, router etc. Next I had a play around turning appliances on and off. The most shocking thing in the house was the kettle. When I turned it on the display shot up to 2.0 kilowatts. We have not got a tumble dryer but I suspect that if I did turning it on and watching it eat electricity might bring me to tears!

As much as anything else, borrowing and using the smart meter was fun and hopefully it will have helped me save a bit of money.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a friend that all of the energy meters from the Central library are currently on loan and there is a waiting list.

The Avenue Story -- Eastern Avenue and its people through two centuries!

A few weeks ago I went to a community event on Eastern Avenue for the launch of a book about the same road. There was an interesting exhibition made up of extracts from the book, which covers two centuries of the Avenue's history. The exhibition included: illegal tree felling, the plugging of the Avenue, historical people from the Avenue and much more.

Here is some of the blurb about the book from the author Philip Vaughan:

"The Avenue Story is the first history of Eastern Avenue that has been written. Research began in early 2009, working through the resources of libraries, archives offices and the Internet, supplemented by original documents in the possession of many people living in the Avenue.

The resulting book is now in its final draft. The text is validated throughout with full reference to the primary or secondary sources used, and illustrated with maps, plans and photographs. Chapters include:

The prehistory
From farmland to the birth of the suburb: 1840 - 1861
The Avenue takes shape: 1861 - 1901
The twentieth century
Remarkable residents
The South Park conservation area
Tree protection orders"

I will try and get a copy for Palmer Park library.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Speeding and 20's Plenty!

Going back a little while we had a successful campaign called 20's Plenty calling for 20 mph speed limits in residential areas to make roads safer and improve people's quality of life. Following on from this campaign the Council signed up to a national road safety campaign, obtained some speed measuring equipment and responded to residents complaints about speeding traffic by going and measuring the speed of the traffic with its new equipment -- rather than just waiting for an accident to happen. The Council has now published the first set of figures from this campaign and produced a report.

According to the report, the Council are also issuing posters similar to the ones we produced, to residents who request them. Unfortunately, the main plank of the campaign was for 20 mph zones where people wanted them which we still do not have.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Labour lineup announced for local elections in Reading

Here is Labour's lineup for the next local elections in Reading. In Park Ward where I lost by 20 votes at the last local elections the Labour incumbent Cllr Merriot is standing down and Mr McKenzie -- who finished fifth for Labour Henley by-election -- is standing.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A month in the life of a green party campaigner -- August

With holidays and school holidays August has been a quieter month in terms of meetings, but the doorknocking is picking up and so, so are the Council enquiries and requests for repairs.

Council meetings -- 0
Community meetings and events -- 2
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 21

Friday, 11 September 2009

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Heritage open days in Reading

Reading is sometimes accused of lacking history and culture, so I am glad to see the Council taking part in the national Heritage Open Days event. The event in Reading runs from September 10 to 13. The council have produced a leaflet and some of the things that I will be doing include: a self guided tour of Reading Old Cemetery at Cemetery Junction, a Real Time Video event at Blake's Lock, a Caversham Court Gardens visit and hopefully a visit to Reading Hindu Temple. There is a national website and if I have done it correctly, this link should take you directly to the Reading events.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Newbury furniture project

Just got some second-hand sofas from the Community Furniture Project in Newbury. It is good to be back to as many sofas spaces as people in the house especially after the first aborted attempt to deliver -- they were too big!

The Community Furniture Project is good because it sells to everyone. It has a standard price and a discounted price for if you are on benefits. In Reading we have Christian Community Action which is good but only deals with people on benefits.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Park Ward newsletters

I have just got hold of a copy of that rare item, a Conservative ward newsletter in Park. They appear to have selected their candidate -- Mr John Walker -- for the next local elections who I am informed comes from Caversham and has not done anything recently in Park except comment in their newsletter. Looking through my archive the previous ward newsletter from them came out over a year ago just before the 2008 local elections plugging their last unsuccessful candidate Mr Martyn Washbourne. Now they are trailing behind in third place in Park it will be interesting to see how much effort they put in over the next nine months.

A month or so ago I saw one from the Liberal Democrats but it seemed mainly to be plugging their Parliamentary candidate Mr Epps. Their previous one was June 2008. As the Liberal Democrats are way behind in fourth place in Park I do not expect them to do much apart from promote Mr Epps for the Reading East constituency.

Nothing from the Labour Party for a long while now. The last ward newsletter I saw was just before the 2008 local elections where Mr Hartley pipped me to the post by just 20 votes. Now with only two councillors in the ward, demoralised activists and people jumping ship left right and centre I think that Labour will struggle to defend Cllr Merriot at the next election -- although there are rumours around that she will be stepping down and Mr McKenzie will be standing.

Of course our ward newsletter Green Reading has been coming out quarterly now for a few years. And having just lost by 20 votes in 2008 and won in the ward at the European elections we will be continuing to work hard for the area.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Council park consultation

If you want to see your local park improved then fill out this consultation from the Council.

On a number of occasions I have requested that the Council improve the toilets by the children's play area and fence the Wokingham Road side of Palmer Park!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Reading Pride and the National Front

The Reading Pride parade and festival is happening tomorrow -- Saturday. Unfortunately the National Front are having a protest at the Market Place which the parade goes passed. I signed this letter from Unite Against Fascism on the issue. Come down and show your support for Reading Pride -- the festival should be good fun to.

UPDATE: this article on the BBC website says that the National Front have pulled out.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Ridgeline Trust Harvest Fete

The Ridgeline Trust are having a fete on Sunday, September 27, 1 to 4 p.m.

Homemade Locally Grown Food
Ice- Cream Sodas
BBQ – bring your own meat/fish to cook.

Bobbing Apples
Eat an onion Challenge ( 3:30 pm )
Recycled object competition
( winner announced 4pm )

Plant and seed sale
Second-hand books
Craft stall
Fresh Fruit & Veg
Jams and Preserves

( all activities subject to weather conditions, garden open regardless )

For more information contact them at:


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Rob White for Reading East -- election bonds

I am the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Reading East. I want to put fairness, integrity and the environment back into our politics and make Reading a better place to live.

Tax on our democracy

To stand in the general election every candidate has to pay a £500 deposit. This is returnable if we get over 5 percent of the vote. This barrier is designed to stop extremists from standing but it does not work, it just makes it harder for smaller progressive parties like the Green Party to get going. It is a tax on our democracy. A fairer system, which would be more effective at stopping the extremists, would be to scrap the deposit and to increase the number of signatures needed.

In the meantime we need to raise the £500 deposit and are selling election bonds for £20 each. You will get your money back if we get over 5 percent of the vote.

Predictions for the general election

At the last general election when the local party was a lot smaller we still managed to increase the number of Green votes by 50 percent polling 3.5 percent of the total vote. Since then we have been more active and got more done. At the recent European Elections we got 18 percent of the vote in the east Reading wards finishing in second place -- this does not include the Woodley wards for which no data was available.

How to buy a bond

If you want to buy a bond, please make cheques payable to Reading Green Party and send them along with your details -- name, address and phone number -- to Rob White at:

22 Cumberland Rd, Reading, RG1 3LB.

Feel free to club together with friends and family to buy a bond or make a donation for a lesser amount.

If you would like more information please get in touch:

9667183 or 07985 923938

*All donations over £200 must be declared to the Electoral Commission. If you are thinking of donating this amount please get in contact first.

** If you would like to make an electronic bank transfer then get in contact and I will supply you with our bank details.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Pothole of the week

I have been noticing this pothole on Norwood Road for a while now. It has grown to such a size that I have now reported it. I tried to give it some scale in the photo by putting my boot in there -- it is a few inches deep and about a foot across. If you know of any others in the area let the Council know, report them on Fix My Street or get in touch.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

100 things challenge

I heard a piece on radio four about the 100 things challenge. A quick Google found their website. Basically this guy now only has 100 possessions. I do not think I will take it to that extreme, but it has motivated me to pass on some of the things that I have been hoarding -- in combination with the thought that at some point I will probably move house and when that happens I do not fancy moving too much junk.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Kennet Morris Men

Just a quick note to plug that The Kennet Morris Men will provide music and dance at the Jolly Anglers on Monday 24th August, 7.30 – 8.30. John -- the old landlord -- will be visiting. Come down and show your support.

Green blogger award

Thanks to Total Politics who have ranked me at number 14 in their top 25 Green blogs.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Reading Borough Council hiding its e-mail

A while ago the Council changed the layout of their website so the "Contact the Council/Customer services" link -- via which you can e-mail the Council -- was no longer underlined and appeared as just a heading -- although if you knew it was a link you could still click on it. I asked the Council to fix this which they did, but recently they have rolled back the fix making it harder for people to contact the Council by e-mail. When I challenged the council about this they said the way they fixed it made other sections of the website look untidy. All it would take is a simple link put in below the title saying 'Click here to e-mail the Council' and another one saying ' Click here for more contact information'. Come on Reading Borough Council pull your finger out.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Climate change, jobs and the Vestas factory

While on holiday recently on the Isle of Wight my partner Sam and I headed down to the Vestas wind turbine factory which has recently been closed by its owners.

The closure received lots of coverage because some of the 600 workers who were being made redundant took to the roof in protest at the loss of jobs in an area of already high unemployment and the loss of the UK's only wind turbine factory at a time when the government says it wants to expand the renewables sector.

Just before leaving for holiday the roof occupation had ended, so I was not quite sure how the campaign was going. We got to the site via a scenic walk from the centre of Newport down the river Medina -- which was used to transport turbines to the port. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the level of activity. There was also a well provisioned protest camp set up outside the gates, loads of banners showing support from organisations ranging from the Fire Brigade Union to the local church. I was pleased to hear that the fighting fund was up to £10,000 and I chipped in my loose change, getting a copy of their protest song "Boys on the balcony" and a ribbon in exchange.

I found it really interesting to see the coming together of the different groups. The workers were leading the campaign. There was the RMT supporting them through the redundancies and fighting the sackings. People from the Climate Camp were there helping out generally and with the catering. The wider local community was also supportive. While I was there a number of people dropped in with supplies including fresh vegetables for the kitchen and cake.

If we are to tackle climate change we are clearly going to need this kind of broad coalition. We will also need the equipment to generate electricity in a renewable way. What better way to get people into work than to nurture and expand the renewable energy sector. This is part of what the Green Party have been calling for in the form of a Green New Deal, an innovative plan to restructure the economy through a billion-pound package for investing in green jobs -- in renewables and energy efficiency -- to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and cut householders’ fuel bills.

The proposed Isle of Wight closure is a blow for the 600 skilled British workers set to lose their jobs. It also threatens any attempt the UK makes to position itself at the forefront of global technological efforts to create a greener and fairer future.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Holiday on the Isle of Wight

We arrived on Saturday at the campsite on the Isle of Wight. Not having the instructions to the tent we borrowed, it took us a while to erect it and when we had finished we had six polls left over -- I am sure they were not important.

Over the course of the week we did plenty of walking around the island. We ate well from our barbecue and gas stove. Our sightseeing included a windmill, possibly the oldest vineyard in the UK and a glassworks.

At night being in a tent there was not much to do apart from read and sleep -- no rude comments please! We did eat out one evening at the Hong Kong Express in Newport and their vegetarian set meal was very tasty and filling. On another evening we went to the cinema in Ryde to see the new Harry Potter film. I had been avoiding the films and books up until that point, but I thought I should see or read one. As the cinema price was £2.50 and seeing a film is quicker than reading a book I could not say no. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the film.

On the Friday before we went home we had a free day and Sam discovered in the local paper that there was still campaigning going on at the Vestas wind turbine factory over its closure -- we had not realised until this point due to our limited contact with computers and mobile phones etc. So we decided to head down there -- more about this when I get the chance to do another post but suffice to say the campaign still goes on.

On Saturday before catching the ferry home we popped into the Garlic Festival. As you might imagine there was plenty of garlic merchandise -- preserves, beer, seed etc. There was also a strong man, bands and various other entertainment.

All in all a good holiday and I would definitely recommend the Isle of Wight as a holiday destination.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- July

Council meetings -- 0
Community meetings and events -- 19
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 9

Council meetings
I did not make it to any Council meetings this month.

Community meetings and events
But I made it to lots of community meetings. The first weekend in July was particularly busy with the Kennet Walk barbecue on Friday, the Orts Road estate 30th anniversary on Saturday and East Reading Festival on Sunday.

Residents' enquiries and requests for repairs
I was busy talking to people about the plans to change Palmer Park and so only picked up a few items of casework.

The campaign to Reopen the Jolly Anglers been my main campaign recently.

Green party
I have coordinated the delivery of the latest Park Ward newsletter.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Latest news from the campaign to Reopen the Jolly Anglers

Hello all,

Well done to everyone for your hard work. The campaign continues to go from strength to strength. The Facebook group now has 213 members!

Later today MP Greg Mulholland -- from the all party Save the Pub group -- is coming to Reading. He will be at the Jolly Anglers from 11:40 a.m.

We now have a website:


The next event is Morris dancing at the pub on August 24 -- details to be confirmed, but put the date in your diary.

The petition still rumbles on:


Not bad for a group of volunteers! Most of this has been organised through our regular committee meetings. If you would like to get involved then please contact Cathy and she will keep you informed of when the committee meetings are -- cathymars@yahoo.co.uk.

Best wishes
Rob White

Friday, 31 July 2009

Nuclear Information Service moves to Reading

The Nuclear Information Service has relocated to Reading. I attended their opening event yesterday. With both Aldermaston and Burghfield close by to keep an eye on this seems like a positive move for them.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Rob is on Twitter

I have finally succumbed and got myself a Twitter account.

As David Cameron said though "too many tweets makes a twit" -- or something similar -- and I shall remember this important rule!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Register details risks to Council

There was an article in the Evening Post a few weeks ago detailing strategic risks to the Council taken from a committee report. Unfortunately, they did not publish it on their website. Here are the seven risks identified:

Unable to protect children from harm
Failing to provide school places for every child
Not ready to run a general election
Failing to meet fire safety regulations
Failing to keep within budget
Unable to maintain and service delivery from the Civic Centre
Failing to deal with projected cash shortages expected in the public sector.

This is pretty damning for the Labour Party who have been running Reading many years. However, if they wanted to the Lib Dems and Tories could get together and run the Council themselves -- as Labour do not have a majority -- but they are reluctant to do this as it is far easier to be out of power and criticise the Council.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Family quiz night in Palmer Park

Tonight -- Saturday, July 25 -- from 6:30 p.m. till 9 p.m. there is a quiz night at the East Reading Adventure Playground Association -- the area inside the high wooden fence on the London Road side of Palmer Park. There will be refreshments etc. Entry is one pound per person and teams should be a maximum of four people.

Hugh Turner Quartet

I went to see the Hugh Turner Quartet at the Global Cafe in the town centre the other week. I do not normally get a chance to see much jazz, but they were great.

They have a website but I could not find a way to listen to them on the Internet.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Big Lunch/Reopen the Jolly Anglers

Thanks to Stu for this report on the Big Lunch/Reopen the Jolly Anglers campaign:

Overall it was brilliant. Healthy turnout (maybe 40-50 at times, ish? I find it hard to judge crowds...), wonderful community spirit, great food, drink, chairs, marque etc etc. The band were great!

I think everyone who did anything towards it deserve a massive thanks! The band (Black Diamonds/Colm/Peter), providers of food/drink/materials(chairs, marque etc), organisers, leafleters, photographers, the two girls who made and put lots of effort into the petition, the fishermans cottage, etc etc, all are stars.

My girlfriend took loads of photo's so we'll send them through asap, should get photos up on the website etc. We will fwd them especially to Bernie/media group etc so that a press report can be put together?

If there was any down side to today this was the only thing; as far as I could tell the press did not show up at all, so we will need to get photos and a report to them and press them to cover it.

But other than, damn good, thanks for a good day folks.

Monday, 13 July 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- June

Council meetings -- 2
Community meetings and events -- 11
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 4

Council meetings
I attended the Traffic Management Advisory Panel to get some action on the dire parking situation in Newtown. I also went along to the Green City Forum -- which was very interesting -- to find out more about plans for Palmer Park.

Community meetings and work
It has been a busy month with lots of community events. Highlights included presenting certificates at the volunteer's party, the bike week critical mass organised by the Reading Cycle Campaign and a talk on Christianity and Islam at the Warehouse.

Residents' enquiries and requests for repairs
During the election period we picked up a few requests for action around noise and other issues.

The campaign that I have been putting most effort into recently is the one to Reopen the Jolly Anglers pub. I am on the events team and we are organising an awareness raising event this Sunday as part of the Big Lunch.

We have also been going door to door with the Palmer Park consultation to ensure people have heard about it and get it back to the Council in time.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Community Gardening Sessions -- Reading Ridgeline Trust

Emily asked me to plug this:

At The Ridgeline Trust Therapeutic Garden Site (top of Hamilton road).

Every Wednesday 11am – 4pm

Help save our local wildlife and develop the garden so that our local community can grow their own veg.

EVERYONE WELCOME, young children must have an adult to look after them as the plot is quite wild !

Call Emily for more information

Home number: 01183745562

Email: emily.meunier@yahoo.co.uk

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Palmer Park consultation response

Palmer Park is a really positive space in the local area. It provides sports, leisure and play facilities as well as habitat for wildlife. Following on from talking to residents, I submitted the following response to the Palmer Park consultation.

Answers to specific questions:

I am in favour of extending the play area, subject to consultations with the children who will use it.

I am not in favour of any net expansion of the number of parking spaces. I would like to see controls on the parking by the stadium to prevent abuse of this facility late at night.

I am in favour of moving the recycling as long as it remains visible.

General comments:

I would like to see a fence along the Wokingham Road side of the park.

I would like to see the East Reading Adventure Playground Area fence removed or lowered.

I would like to see the toilet by the play area upgraded as it is a poor facility.

I would like to see a wildflower meadow between the stadium and railway track.

I would like to see the hedge, that was removed being replaced this autumn.

I would like to see a review into the blocked up toilets reopened as a cafe.

I would like to see a kids trail around the park, taking them between the play areas and other sections of interest.

I would like to see some history boards in the Park.

If the parking by St Bartholomew's Road is to be removed, I hope that the Council has considered the impact this will have on residents of the Road. The residents' parking may need to be extended.

Please keep me updated on the developments.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Jolly Anglers meeting

It was a busy weekend -- Kennet Walk barbecue, URC summer fayre, Orts Road 30th anniversary barbecue, East Reading Festival -- ending with the meeting to get the Jolly Anglers reopened. The meeting was reasonably big -- about 20 people -- and hard work for the chair. But we made progress in establishing the facts or lack of them, and keeping up the momentum of the campaign, by hopefully organising an event as part of the Big Lunch. See the Facebook group for more information as and when.

Wycliffe church hall reopening

Recently I attended the reopening of the Wycliffe Church Hall. It looks really impressive, and they should be getting new chairs sometime soon. As there are now chairs which can be removed the hall is now suitable for a variety of uses, and can be booked out.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Palmer Park consultation

If you live near Palmer Park in east Reading then get yourself a copy of the consultation on the park from the library and have your say.

True Food Co-op gets a shop

I have just heard that the True Food Co-op have got the go-ahead for the new shop site in Emma Green. Congratulations to everyone who has worked hard to make this happen. Only being able to shop within the limited market hours has been a barrier for some people to get to the Co-op, hopefully having a shop will address this.

Monday, 29 June 2009

New Indian restaurant Chennai Dosa in Reading

I visited this new Whitley Street, South Indian restaurant at the weekend for breakfast. Very tasty food, reasonably priced and friendly staff.

I would not usually have a curry for breakfast, but as the previous two times I had attempted to go to the restaurant it was so busy, I gave up and went home hungry, I thought it would be the easiest way to get a table. Now I am a convert and will definitely be going back for another breakfast when time permits.

More information here.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Newtown and Alfred Sutton summer fayres

This afternoon it is the summer fayre at Newtown school. From memory it runs from about 12 noon till 3 p.m.

I had a great time there last year -- apart from the rain at the end. There were stocks with sponges being thrown at the unlucky occupant, a range of stalls and lots of people. It looks dry outside so hopefully another good one this year.

The Alfred Sutton one is on July 11 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

East Reading Festival

East Reading Festival is approaching again (July 1 -- 5), see the programme for more information. This is a really positive community event for the area. It is later in the year this time and I will be interested to see what effect this has. On Sunday I will be helping on the GLOBE stall promoting battery recycling locally, say hello if you see me.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Whiteknights Studio Trail

Please forgive the short notice, but the Whiteknights Studio Trail is on this weekend. All venues are open tomorrow -- Sunday -- from 11 a.m. till 6 p.m.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Facebook group to reopen the Jolly angler

I have set up a Facebook group to campaign to get the Jolly Angler pub reopened. Please join and spread the word.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Jolly Angler to close...

It was a shock to find out last night that my local pub -- the Jolly Angler -- is closing -- now closed in fact!

The first I heard of this was yesterday afternoon when a friend told me that they would be closing at the end of the evening never to reopen and they were selling off the drinks cheap. I had a couple of meetings yesterday evening -- Green City Forum and a Green Party business meeting -- so I did not get down there till 10 30p.m. When I arrived there were still a good number of people there all pretty gutted that the pub was closing. Local pubs are part of the glue that holds communities together and so to lose one makes us all poorer. After a chat to the landlord I was a little more informed. Apparently the owning company -- Enterprise -- were selling the pub off to be converted to flats as has happened to a number of other pubs in the area -- Plasterers, Dove, Eastgate. John has already alerted the local and national papers, CAMRA and got a petition going. He is also asking people to lobby the Council as they will need to agree a change of use for the property if it is to be converted into flats. And so the campaign begins!

Age of stupid -- local film screening

From the Council:

We are showing the environmental film 'Age of Stupid' at the Town Hall on Tuesday 30th June - more details below. I hope this is something you and your friends and family would be interested in seeing. If you would like the opportunity to win four tickets to see this film, then you can do so by completing the pledge on line at www.reading.gov.uk/climateplege This is useful if you have lost your paper saying what you are going to commit to doing!

The Age of Stupid - Film Screening
At Reading Town Hall on Tuesday 30th June 2009, 6.45pm for a 7.15pm start
Synopsis: A man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
There will be the opportunity to hear about local community environmental initiatives and sign Reading’s climate change pledge at this event.

Tickets: £5.50 Concessions inc YRP & Students : £4.50
****Fill in the Readings Climate Change Pledge on line now and be enetered into a draw to win four tickets: www.reading.gov.uk/climatepledge ****
Book tickets: on line at www.readingarts.com , call 0118 9606060 or at the box office at the Hexagon and the Town Hall.
Best wishes
Sustainability Team
reading Borough Council
0118 939 0100

Monday, 15 June 2009

Two months in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- April and May activity report

With the European elections it has been busy for the last two months, so I have not had a chance to do the April activity report. I have therefore rolled it in with the May one.

Thanks to Cllr Willis for the idea of the summary.

Council meetings attended -- 1
Community meetings attended -- 9
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 8

Council meetings

I attended Cabinet to support the Kings Meadow Campaign to protect the baths and green space.

Community meetings and work

Highlights included taking part in the Reading Single Homeless Project sleep out, attending the Reading Cycle Campaign AGM and supporting the Gaza Crisis Group's football event.

Resident enquiries and requests for repairs

Although in election mode and not proactively seeking casework I helped residents on issues such as overhanging greenery, speeding and that perennial issue of parking problems in Newtown.


As well as the positive Euro election campaign results -- first in Park Ward and second in East Reading Ward's -- we succeeded in getting the alley at the top of Cumberland Rd gated to prevent fly tipping. This has taken at least two years of work including meetings, newsletters, clear ups and lots of liaising with the Council and local businesses.

Green Party

Highlights from the last few months include having the big Green campaign bus in Reading and the hustings that Caroline Lucas took part in at RISC. The activity that has probably taken most of my time over the last few months though is canvassing which I always enjoy.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Bike ride on Saturday -- critical mass

The critical mass on Saturday was a great way to get from my side of town -- East Reading -- over to Prospect Park for the bike festival -- and a good way of ensuring a crowd at the event. Admittedly, I was there a few minutes late for the start of the bike ride, but a quick U-turn on the Wokingham Road and I had joined the mass. At a guess I think we must have had about 50 plus cyclists. I always enjoy the sense of security and community of cycling in a large critical mass.

The only minor problem of the ride was when the mass was cut in half at some traffic lights and we never got together again. Maybe some informal stewarding might of helped?

Thanks to Adrian for this video of the event.

There were a variety of stalls at the bike festival -- although a few people were complaining about the lack of tea and coffee! The bike surgery run by Cycle Zone and the company -- who's name I cannot remember -- giving people test rides were both popular.

I will definitely be there next year.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Unofficial European election figures from Reading

I have just got back from the Reading count. They hadn't declared the official figures when I left, but the Green Party on the unofficial figures has finished in third place across Reading, beating the Lib Dems. Notable Ward results include, Park Ward, where we finished first, beating all parties by a majority of over 300 votes and Caversham, Thames and Mapledurham Wards, where we finished in second place. I will post more accurate results when I have them.

This vindicates our positive campaign based around fairness, integrity and the environment. It also gives me great hope for the local elections in 2010, where we shall hopefully breakthrough and get our first Green councillor in Reading.

UPDATE: the Green Party finished in second place in the East Reading wards (C 6,051; G 3,504; Lab 3,057; LD 3,040; UKIP 2,169) thanks to Cllr Willis for the figures.

Parking permit scheme in Newtown

Parking is a massive problem in Newtown at the moment, and over the last year, I have been working hard with the residents and council officers to try to resolve this issue. Following on from the public meeting I organised and residents on Filey Road, presenting a petition to the council. The Council has looked into the introduction of parking permits across the whole Newtown area. There will be a report to the next Traffic Management Advisory Panel, which is on June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Election day

My legs are feeling tired, I have a sore throat and getting up this morning for the Food 4 Families meeting was hard work, but I think election day went well for us. So I am in a good mood. I took part in our usual, election day operation in Park Ward, starting at 7 a.m. when the polls opened, and finishing at 10 p.m. when the polls shut. Over the day, I did a combination of taking numbers on the gate of the polling station, organising and knocking up our voters to remind them to vote. We had loads of people helping, which spread the work and made it quite a social day as well.

There were no other parties on the gate at either polling station in Park Ward -- maybe they were out spending their expenses? A Labour Party supporter had left a red rose at the Newtown school polling station, which I didn't have the heart to remove. By the end of the day the rose was looking a little worse for wear -- in a similar way to Labour's performance recently. Maybe the other parties had bussed their activists to help with local or county elections elsewhere, or alternatively, perhaps, they were just fed up and stayed at home?

Anyway, our election day statistics showed our vote was up on last year but we shall have to wait till the weekend for the count and see how that goes to see how many Euro MPs we get in the southeast and across the country.

Free Wheel and Bike Festival - Saturday 13th June

Bike week is coming:

Bike Week 2009 will kick off with a Free Wheel / critical mass bike ride from Palmer Park to Prospect Park starting at 9am at the Velodrome car-park.

If you have ever had the urge to take over Reading’s roads amongst a phalanx of other cyclists now is your chance – don’t miss it. If just half of the Reading Cycle Campaign membership turned out that would be over 300 cyclists!

Reading’s first Bike Festival will also take place on Prospect Park from 10am-4pm. There will be all sorts of bikes and accessories to try out, led rides, an off-road race, information stands, bike repair workshops, Dr Bike, face painting and more. Come along and celebrate cycling.

More information on Bike Week events around Reading can be found on http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/event

Monday, 1 June 2009

Spread the word

Election day is fast approaching -- Thursday, June 4 -- and it is looking good for the Green Party. All polls I've seen have the Green vote as significantly up and predictions for the number of Euro MPs we will end up with range from doubling our current two, to four to quadrupling them to eight!

However, now is not the time for complacency and as the saying goes "there is many a slip between cup and lip". So please make sure all of your friends, family and colleagues at work have seen our Party Election Broadcast and so understand that the Green Party is about fairness, integrity and the environment and will get out and vote for us.


If you fancy helping on election day and ensuring that people who have pledged their support to us get out and vote please contact me.

The fate of King's Meadow

Thanks to Bob for this:

I would just like to remind you that tonight at 6.30pm in the Civic Centre is the meeting (open to public) to confirm or reject the plan to build a hotel / flat /bars/ car park on King's Meadow.

Your attendance would be much appreciated as this will alert the Cabinet that you are not happy for a commercial development to take away your rights.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Art in the town centre

Thanks to Suzanne for this:

Changing Reading for the Day: Town Centre Day Friday 29 May 11am - 4pm; Exhibition from 4-5.30pm.

jelly, with the help of Reading artists, will be helping anyone and everyone who wants to become an Artist for the day.

To celebrate 20 years of the Children's Festival jelly wants to create a town full of artists and artists in the making for the day - it is a hugely ambitious project, with many artists already signed up to help you take part creating something special. We will provide materials, the expertise and you will have the opportunity to be creative. The event is free and will take place in Town Hall Square, we are looking to recreate the Freeze exhibition of 1988 and create our own stars of the future, culminating in a mass art exhibition and changing the face of Reading for the day.

The exhibition of works created on the day will take place using the railings around Town Hall Square and the John Soane monument and through the Bristol and West Arcade complemented by window exhibitions of works by some of the artists who are helping us.

These works that are housed in 27/28 Market Place (pop-up jelly 27/28) are by artists, Karen Jackson and Ingrid Jensen. 173 Friar Street (pop-up jelly 173) is home to the works by f inc.Exhibiting in (173 Friar Street, Reading) are Anne-Marie Carroll, Marje Doyle, Maria Hofstadler, Anne Proctor, Julia Rogers and Mike Taylor.

The displays will be up until Friday 5 June. For more details visit
All this has been made possible by the generous help and support of Reading artists, Reading people and businesses, including picnic, Cream Design, Reading CIC, Reading Borough Council Voluntary Sector Support Unit, Sainsbury' s, Haslams, Fryer Holt, Brook Henderson, MUSE Developments and Hicks Development Ltd.

Parking in Park

There have been a couple of parking related developments in Park Ward and Reading recently. First of all the Council is consulting on its plans for Parking Standards and Design. See here for the blurb.

The second item is following on from a number of requests from residents through the Green Party for yellow lines to be added on corners (Melrose Avenue, Brackendale Way, Haywood Court) in the Ward to improve road safety consultation notices are up in the relevant areas. There are also notices up to inform people of the Council's plans to tidy up yellow lines in Newtown and create more parking spaces. Comments on these plans need to be in by tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Tales of a Euro elections canvasser

I have been out with the team canvassing for the Green Party and Caroline Lucas over the last few weeks. Up until the recent revelations, support in Reading seemed to be holding and up a bit. Following on from all of the press coverage over MPs abuse of expenses support for the three main parties has fallen off a cliff. With the Green Party's reputation for straight talking and Caroline's work to make the European Parliament more transparent and accountable -- resulting in her being named the most ethical MEP by the Observer -- we are now picking up a lot more support on the doorstep in the Reading area. This poll from the Independent on Sunday confirms that this is the case across the country.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Indian Community Association senior citizens club -- lunch club tour

I went along to the senior citizens day club at the Indian Community Association yesterday -- Wednesday. Following the theme so far I had a vegetarian Indian meal -- rice, bread, curry, salad and lentils -- and chatted to some of my fellow diners afterwards. The ICA senior citizens day club isn't just for eating "we meet, we play, we talk, and we have fun, and take care of our health as well". As I was under 50 the cost was £3 if you are over 50 this drops to £2.

Food is served at 12:30 p.m. On Monday and Wednesday it is vegetarian and on Thursday and Friday there is vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

South East Plan update

Thanks to John from Friends of the Earth for this:

Final version of South East Plan was published last Wednesday 6th May. I have not has time to read much of it so this mail is mainly to let you know it's out there, and to share a few highlights ... or whatever the right word is for the opposite of highlights.

The Plan applies for the period 2006 to 2026

See introduction on http://www.go-se.gov.uk/gose/news/816034/

Plan may be downloaded from http://www.gos.gov.uk/gose/planning/regionalPlanning/815640/

Introduction is in Section A
General Policies are in Section B
Policies for our sub-region - 'Western Corridor and Blackwater Valley' are in Section C on page 239.

Sadiq Khan, the Communities Minister, said an increase in single person households, immigration and the ageing population made it essential to increase housing stock in the area.

The housing total for the region has been reduced from 662,500 in the draft to 654,000 but the numbers for our sub-region - 'Western Corridor and Blackwater Valley' - remain at 102,100.

Annual rates for Berkshire authorities (all unchanged since the last draft) are:
Reading 611
Bracknell 639
Wokingham 623
Slough 315
Windsor and Maidenhead 346
West Berkshire 525

Wokingham's total 'includes some 2,500 related to the expansion of Reading.'

The Plan no longer contains a Region-Specific Policy on Strategic Gaps because the Secretary of State thinks that national policy document PP7 Para 24-25 is sufficient.

The Vision is:

A socially and economically strong, healthy and just South East that respects the limits of the global environment. Achieving this will require the active involvement of all individuals to deliver a society where everyone, including the most deprived, benefits from and contributes to a better quality of life. At the same time the impact of current high levels of resource use will be reduced and the quality of the environment will be maintained and enhanced.

Turn the page and the second Objective is for economic growth at 3% p.a. between 2006 and 2006.


Official Sustainability Appraisal says likely situation under the Final South East Plan is:

(selected quotations - all graded 'negative' or 'significant negative' see the whole starting page 96 in document "bSupporting_Document.pdf")

Air Quality and Causes of Climate Change: Increased air pollution from traffic associated with population and household growth, although policies on air quality and others seek to counter these effects. Up to 2.1MT CO2 emissions per year from new homes, plus 1.85MT embodied energy in the homes; plus CO2 from traffic associated with new homes. It would be impossible for the RSS not to have such impacts, given that its remit is to set a context for development (notably of housing) but does not allow it to control the developments’ air pollution and climate change impacts.

Biodiversity: .... However biodiversity is still likely to be affected by land take, increased disturbance, impacts on water levels etc.

Transport : ... Overall, however, provision of 32,700 new dwellings per year plus employment development and associated infrastructure will increase traffic levels and congestion in the region.

Water Resources: The RSS for the South East will lead to increased water use because of its proposal for more housing and employment. It supports water efficiency (although this support could in our view be stronger) and it also supports the provision of water infrastructure. Although per capita water use is likely to decrease, total water use in the region is likely to increase. Both demand management and resource provision are subject to uncertainties, and it is possible that water resources will be a constraint to development within the lifetime of the RSS.


654,00 seems to be an important number - as well the the number of new houses required - don't know if this is a mis-print but Sustainability Appraisal says 'likely situation without the plan':
"Employment in the region would increase by 654,000 jobs to 2026, thus requiring an increase in the labour supply of 654,000 assuming no change in the level of net out-commuting. There would continue to be no discernable reduction in levels of deprivation across the region and this deprivation would remain largely concentrated along the coast and in the larger urban areas."


More later!


The future of Palmer Park

My source informs me that the Council's current plans for Palmer Park are shot to pieces as in the current financial climate they don't have a partner to build the new swimming pool. As a lot of the other planning stemmed from this big project, without it the plans are no good. Therefore, the Council is going to be consulting again on new plans for Palmer Park which are being drawn up as we blog. High up on my shopping list of projects for the park is a new fence along the Wokingham Road side of the park to improve safety, taking down the high ERAPA fence to make the site look better and improving the gardens in the centre of the park.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Big Lunch

The Big Lunch was mentioned at the Newtown NAG last night as a positive community building project that is happening. The idea is that lots of people organise a food event in their area on the same day across the country. The website allows people to see where the events are and so hopefully it gets people talking. Looking at the map for Reading -- which you can do on the website -- there is an event near me on Radstock Road and a few events north of the river.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Energy meters update

Following on from the Green Party campaign to get the Council to stock energy meters in their libraries and loan them out, a council officer has informed me that the meters are currently on order and there is a meeting in mid May to decide how they should be loaned out. So hopefully they should be available in libraries sometime in June.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

2009 South East region MEP hustings

RISC and other local groups have organised this hustings for the European elections on June 4. According to the flyer the main parties are all represented -- Caroline Lucas from the Greens, Sharon Bowles from the Liberal Democrats, Nirj Deva from the Conservatives and Philip van der Helst from UKIP -- apart from the Labour Party who aren't on the flyer?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Reading climate change partnership

I went along to the Reading climate change partnership kick-off meeting yesterday. If we are to tackle climate change we all need to work together so I think this partnership is really important. There must have been about 50 people from different sectors and backgrounds in the room which was really positive to see -- private, public, voluntary, faith, community etc. We were trying to modify and agree a paper on the mission, aims and objectives of the group which was fairly hard going given the size of the group but we made some progress. The next stage is to set up a working group to put more flesh on the bones that we discussed and to select the executive board of the partnership. Hopefully this board will be agreed at the Local Strategic Partnership meeting in July and the first meeting of the climate change partnership will be in around September.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

International sunflower guerrilla gardening day

I went to the guerrilla gardening event at Reading Library on Saturday. It was interesting to hear about different activities going on around the world -- verges in America, roundabouts in London and occupied land in Africa. The local guerrillas from Common Ground community garden got a mention in the book that was being plugged and they asked for volunteers to get involved with their new garden in Kategrove.

My favourite bit of the talk was the International sunflower guerrilla gardening day that was mentioned and is coming up on May 1. The concept is simple, on that day plant some sunflower seeds in a neglected bit of land near you. Happy gardening...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

King's Meadow update

I went along to Cabinet yesterday to support the King's Meadow Campaign. All seats were taken but the kind security guard found me one outside. Despite unanimous opposition from the public -- and opposition councillors -- to the Asket Hawk proposal the Labour group were still pressing to give them a period of exclusivity to work up their proposal.

A minor spanner was put in the works by the opposition councillors who called in the item to be discussed at the scrutiny meeting which is going on this evening. It will then go back to Cabinet with a recommendation, but whilst this has bought a little bit more time I am not particularly optimistic that this will change the Labour group's mind. What seems more likely as a way to put the brakes on the developer and the community back in control of this, is to force a public enquiry as was done with the Station Hill development.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Reading Single Homeless Project sponsored sleep out

This year I have decided to give the Reading Single Homeless Project sponsored sleep out on Friday the 24th of April a go. I am not normally too bothered about the creature comforts and I enjoy camping, but without a tent seems like hard work.

All money raised will go towards Reading Single Homeless Project work in Reading. If you would like to sponsor me drop me an e-mail saying how much, your home address and whether you would like to gift aid it.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Kings Meadow Lido

I went along to the Kings Meadow Campaign meeting last night -- very well attended even though it was way out in Mapledurham. Whilst it was good to hear all about the history of baths and to bash the Conservative and Labour councillors who are there -- because one way or another they seemed to be supporting the developer and not the King's Meadow Campaign -- I thought the meeting needed a bit more of a focus on action as the Cabinet decision is just next week -- Tuesday 14th April -- click here for full details of the meeting.

To buy more time for the campaign and to get to the Council on board it was suggested that the decision could be called in to the full council, that people should go down to Cabinet to show support for the campaign and that a public enquiry could be forced. I will be going to Cabinet and I would urge anyone that cares about preserving green space and reclaiming a slice of Reading's culture and history to attend as well.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

How busy is your councillor -- Acolaid data

Here is the latest information showing how many items each councillor has put through the system -- Acolaid -- they use to ask questions of officers and request repairs -- simply put the higher the number that more active they have been. As people have pointed out on its own this isn't a guide as to how good or bad you Council is, but taken with other information it is useful.

The data is from May 2008 to the end of February 2009.

You can find out who your councillors are here:


Councillor Totals
AYUB, Mohammed 12
BALLSDON, Isobel 62
BAYES, Kirsten 88
BEARD, Peter 18
BENSON, Daisy 174
BYRNE, Terry 4
CUMPSTY, Andrew 39
DUVEEN, Ricky 26
EDWARDS, Deborah 27
ENNIS, John 57
EPPS, Gareth 107
GOODALL, Glenn 104
HARRIS, Chris 8
HARRIS, Tim 12
HOSKIN, Graeme 9
HUSSAIN, Wazir 22
JANJUA, Azam 7
JONES, Peter 3
JONES, Tony 11
KHAN, Gul 47
LOVELOCK, Jo (Leader) 78
LUCKETT, Dave 18
MASKELL, Chris 11
MERRIOTT, Shirley 6
ORTON, Mike 112
PAGE, Tony (Deputy Leader) 159
PUGH, Fred 10
RALPH, Mark 68
RYNN, Jenny 37
SKEATS, Jeanette 15
STEELE, Tom 67
STEVENS, David 14
SWAINE, Warren 57
TICKNER, Bet 106
TOWNEND, Mike 12
WARMAN, Emma 27
WATSON, Debbie 14
WILLIS, Richard 28

Monday, 6 April 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- March report

Here is my monthly Green Party activist/community campaigner support for March. I've tried to organise it into sections this time to make it easier to read. Feedback welcome.

I have continued our campaign for energy meters to be loaned out from libraries -- the Council are now in the process of buying some. I have also continued to work on our campaign about parking on pavements.

Community work
Crossing patrol at the Alfred Sutton School
Cleared up rubbish in Newtown and up the Wokingham Road for Reading RESCUE with Newtown GLOBE
Volunteered at the True Food Co-op

Meetings and events
Newtown NAG meeting
International women's day event at RISC
Thames Valley Vegans and Veggies event at Maiden Erleigh School
Age of Stupid film premiere
Green talk at Maiden Erleigh School
Reading University School of social work closure meeting
Climate camp meeting
Traffic Management Advisory Panel meeting to support Filey Road residents petitioning for a parking permit scheme
Meet the ambassador meeting at the Pakistani Community Centre
Alfred Sutton School International day event -- stalls about food and culture from around the world
Earth Hour at RISC
Alfred Sutton School Governor committee meeting -- Parents, Pupils and the Community committee

Since the local elections in May 2008 residents have raised 223 casework items with me. I have replied and closed 193 of these.

This month I have requested yellow lines, got some new public litter bins for Bulmershe Road and College Road, got a new Road sign for Eastern Avenue and supported residents asking for a solution to their parking problems in Newtown amongst other things.

Green Party
Helped to deliver our Park Ward newsletter.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Kings Meadow lido

For a number of years now the Council have been trying to get rid of the old Kings Meadow swimming pool. The Kings Meadow campaign have been working to preserve green space in the area. However with recent developments it looks like we going to get a large hotel and car park on the site. Thanks to Bob for this e-mail about a meeting to preserve the area and benefit the community.

"Now or Never…
King’s Meadow and Lock Island
Major area of green public space in peril as developer gets the wink from Reading Council Scrutiny Panel with final decision from Cabinet on Tuesday 14th April 2009.
OPTION 1: Hotels, bars, offices, multi-storey car park and flats


OPTION 2: Minimal impact fully restored Baths with family and sport facilities

Have your say come to Public meeting:

Mapledurham Pavilion on Woodcote Road, Caversham Heights
Wednesday 8th April at 7.30pm - plenty of parking space
Refreshments provided

Lunch club tour -- Sikh temple

Although not strictly speaking a lunch club I went to the Sikh temple on Cumberland Rd with my partner Sam today for lunch on the advice of my landlady who is a member of the Sikh community. She said Sunday afternoon 12 to 2 p.m. is a good time to drop in. I had a very nice potato curry, lentil dish, flatbread and some salad.
There was no charge.

If you are thinking of going remember to cover your head!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Newtown NAG elections

Last night I was elected as the vice-chair of the Newtown NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group). In the past I have been critical of this group as it has appeared at times to be a front for the police and some councillors. It will be interesting to see what direction it heads in now with a new chair, vice-chair and secretary. Quite rightly it looks like our first task will be to reassess the community's top three priorities.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Cumberland Castle

Great news, the Council property affectionately known by locals as "Cumberland Castle" -- on Cumberland Road, due to the graffiti on it -- which has been empty for a number of years is now being brought back into use by another organisation. This has been a real eyesore in the area and a fly tipping hotspot so I am glad that our calls to get it back into use have been answered.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Alfred Sutton International Day

I just got back from the International Day fundraiser at the Alfred Sutton school. I spent the first hour taking money on the door and sheltering from the wind, rain and hail but that was okay because I had someone to talk to. I then went inside talked to people about the different countries -- 21 represented in total -- but more importantly sampled lots of delicious foods. At the end Richard McKenzie soothed us with the sounds of his saxophone, I helped pack up a bit and then left. All in all a great event which I hope the PTA repeat in the future!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Cycling in Reading -- is the bush too big?

Living in Newtown I spend a lot of time cycling down the Kennet side into the town centre. This is generally a nice cycle, but it gets a bit hairy round the back of the Queens Road car park. This is because there is a row of shrubs and trees at a sharp bend in the path. These stop you seeing round the corner making collisions more likely. I asked the company who own the car park to cut the shrubs which they have done. I would be interested to hear if people think they need to go any lower?

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Age of Stupid -- green tie premier

I went to see Age of Stupid -- film on climate change -- at the weekend at Vue in the town centre. Once I had recovered from the price of a ticket -- about £10 -- I enjoyed the evening. It started with a photo op on the green carpet -- from Freecycle -- then a bit of networking, then a live linkup to the premier in London, then the film and then another live linkup. The Reading one sold out so hopefully there will be some more screenings. Maybe someone on Eastenders will even go and see it as part of the show and it will make its way into the popular culture?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

RESCUE weekend

I had a good RESCUE weekend. On the Saturday I helped Newtown GLOBE and residents clear one of the alleys at the top of Cumberland Road. We must of cleared about a skips worth of fly tipped waste!

In the afternoon I paid a visit to the group who were painting a mural in the Avon Place playground -- a seascape. It was looking great and I keep meaning to go back to see the finished product.

On the Sunday I helped a resident clear some of the fly tipped waste out of the alley between Church Road and Wokingham Road. Despite a bit of publicity it was just the two of us, but we still made some progress.

It would be good to have a Autumn RESCUE in future -- which the council has talked about before. I will definitely be trying to get more groups to take part of next time.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Reading RESCUE

It's that time of year again, Reading RESCUE is happening this weekend. The acronym stands for Rivers and Environmental Spaces Clean Up Event. There are things happening across the Reading area. I'll be helping clear up an alley in Newtown and another one off of the Wokingham Road. For details of all the events see the website: www.readingrescue.org.uk

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lunch club tour and review

To meet people, make links to communities and get a good feed I have embarked on a lunch club tour. I thought I would plug the different lunch clubs that I go to on my blog and do a quick review.

The first lunch club I went to is almost opposite my new house on Cumberland Rd at the Warehouse/Wycliffe Church. It is at 12:45 p.m. on a Friday -- although not the next two weeks because the people that run it are away. I almost missed it due to stopping for a chat on the way! The food was vegetarian Indian. It was very tasty. There was water to drink and fruit salad to finish with. The cost was £2.50 and I'll definitely be going back when it restarts.

Monday, 9 March 2009

International women's day

I went to the International women's day event at RISC on Saturday. It was a good community event, with lots of people, and all the bands I saw were good. Especially the last one Invocal.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

AWE gets the go-ahead

Thanks to Peter for this update on the AWE expansion plans:

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard by now, West Berkshire Council have now made a decision on the planning application submitted by AWE to build a new nuclear warhead assembly / dissasembly facility at AWE Burghfield.

To no-one's great surprise, the planning committee decided to grant permission to allow the development to go ahead. The planning committee have been very pro-AWE when considering previous planning applications submitted by the company, and this week was no exception. The Council officers seemed desperate to push the application through as fast as possible and the councillors on the committee seemed to be more interested in the surfacing for a new pathway that is to be built along
Burghfield Road than in the problems associated with the development itself. Only one member of the committee voted against allowing the new nuclear factory to be built at Burghfield.

The points we made about flood risks, public safety and populations numbers in the protection zones around the development, and the failure of the committee to hear evidence from Reading Borough Council were all ignored by the committee. However, although we lost the vote we won the arguments hands down. There was massive press interest in the issue - solidly on our side - and one journalist told us "I've been covering AWE stories for 20 years and have never seen this level of opposition to a
development there before". This looks set to translate into further public distrust of AWE.

We are currently investigating the possibilities of putting pressure on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears)to call the development in for a public inquiry. Rob Wilson, Martin Salter, and Caroline Lucas have already written to Hazel Blears asking for an inquiry. If you are able to help in contacting other local MPs (Theresa May, John Redwood, Richard Benyon, or MPs further afield in Basingstoke and Bracknell) please get in touch with me.

We will have another opportunity to put a spanner in the wheels of new development at AWE Aldermaston in a few weeks time when a new planning application is submitted for an enriched uranium facility at AWE Aldermaston. This will be an even bigger development than the one at Burghfield, raising a whole new set of safety and environmental risks. If you would like to help un the campaign against this new uranium facility please contact me to let me know.

Finally, a very big thank you to everyone who helped with this campaign by signing letters of objection; collecting signatures; visiting MPs, speaking at meetings, or in any other way.

Best wishes,